Thursday, October 21, 2010

Are You on God’s Bad Side?

But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." James 4:6

When we are proud, God is opposed to us. That’s what this verse says. Considering God’s power and might, it would be wise to have God on our side rather to live in opposition to Him.

I’m not saying this to be clever. I’m saying this because I don’t know that we understand how truly serious this is. Pride is one of the greatest hindrances to our spiritual well-being. It’s one of the seven deadly sins, according to Pope Gregory the Great (Source: (So is gluttony, but we talked about confession yesterday, and I’ve lost 15 pounds).

Pride puts us at the center of our universe. Pride is the desire to prove everyone else wrong just to prove that we’re right. Pride is the compulsion for control. Pride is hogging the ball, the remote, and the credit. Pride puts us on the wrong side of God.

Grace is not given to the proud, because the proud see no need for grace. Like the older brother in the story of the prodigal son, who did everything right, the proud don’t have a need for the Father’s grace (Luke 15:29). They are in control. They are calling the shots. The proud can take care of themselves. As St. Augustine said, “It was pride that changed angels into devils. It is humility that makes men as angels.”

So, here’s the problem: proud Christians depend on God for their eternal salvation, but depend on themselves for everything else. God’s saving grace has been applied and their destiny is secure. But, when it comes to everyday living, “if it’s meant to me, it’s up to me.” (That’s a clever phrase, though unbiblical).

God cannot work in us if we don’t allow Him to work. If we are expending all of our energy trying to figure things out and don’t seek God for answers, guess what, God doesn’t give any answers.

God gives grace to the humble, not just for eternal security, but also for daily living. The humble don’t necessarily have low self-esteem. The humble have an accurate view of themselves (Romans 12:3). They have strengths and weaknesses. They are not the center of the universe. The humble acknowledge their weakness so that God, in turn, demonstrates His strength (2 Corinthians 12:10).

God doesn’t love the humble more than the loves the proud. God loves us all. God gives grace to the humble, because they are humble enough to ask for God’s grace. Why would the proud need to ask for God’s grace? They’ve got it all under control.

How do you need God’s grace today? Have you asked Him for it? God is not stingy with His grace. He won’t scold you first. God is glad to be on your side.

A beautiful hymn by Annie J. Flint captures this well:

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

If you have time, the lyrics to this hymn are priceless:

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